What lies in store for United in the FA Cup?

Tuesday 09 January 2024 12:02

Although Manchester United do not yet know our destination in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round, we will be facing first-time opponents.

The draw was made before the Reds' comfortable passage past Wigan Athletic, courtesy of a 2-0 victory with goals from Portuguese duo Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes.

Erik ten Hag's side are on the road again, travelling to either Newport County or Eastleigh on the weekend of 27/28 January.

FA Cup draw: United away again


The Reds will have another road trip in the fourth round after winning at Wigan.

Eastleigh forced a replay in the original tie at Newport with a Chris Maguire penalty equalising James Clarke's opener and earning the 10 men a second bite of the cherry, with the fixture due to be played on Tuesday 16 January, although this is still subject to change.

Newport sit in 18th spot in League Two, while Eastleigh are currently in 11th place in the National League.

United have never faced County in a competitive fixture, although our Reserves did meet them in a friendly in 2004, with David Poole bagging the only goal of the game. If the Exiles make it through, they will be the fourth Welsh team to play the Reds in the FA Cup.

We lost 4-1 to Cardiff City in 1922 and went out 2-1 to Swansea City at Old Trafford in 2014, despite a goal for Javier Hernandez, as Wilfried Bony scored a last-minute winner.

Our record is much better against Wrexham in the competition, beating them 5-0 in 1957 and 5-2 in 1995, a fourth-round game that marked Phil Neville's senior debut. 

Phil Neville in action on his senior debut, against Wrexham in the FA Cup.

Eastleigh throw up a new level of possibilities as the Hampshire side have only enjoyed a rise through the pyramid since the turn of the century.

The Spitfires have a former Reds Academy graduate in their ranks in forward Aidy Barlow, who joined the club last year.

In terms of non-league opponents in the past, our most recent tie came in 2011 against Crawley Town, when Wes Brown scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.

Exeter City (2005) and Burton Albion (2006) both earned replays with 0-0 draws before being knocked out while, looking further back, Yeovil Town were hammered 8-0 in the fifth round in 1949 and Walthamstow Avenue drew 1-1 at Old Trafford, only to lose the replay 5-2.

Aidy Barlow is currently plying his trade at Eastleigh.

Whichever side sets up the fourth-round encounter with the Reds, these are the sort of ties that United supporters relish.

The opportunity to head to Rodney Parade or the Silverlake Stadium will see a huge demand for tickets, as was the case for the win at Wigan.

After all home draws en route to the semi-finals last year, and the penalty shootout win over Brighton & Hove Albion, before being edged out by Manchester City in the final, United might be on for a repeat of 1990.

That was when we were drawn away in each round before eventually getting our hands on the trophy, the first of Sir Alex Ferguson's glorious reign.


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